Rudi International has successfully engaged members of the National Assembly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) on the country’s prevailing ICT policy landscape, how to champion formulation of progressive laws on privacy and data protection, and the need to ally with digital rights organizations.
Through a two days dialogue and capacity building workshop, eight members of the Assembly from the Telecommunications and Technology Committee, five Parliamentary staff, together with industry players, officials from government Departments and Agencies were engaged. Among the topics explored was the history of telecommunications and ICT regulation in DR Congo, from the Legislative Order of 29 August 1946 Establishing the State Monopoly on Telecommunications Services Open to the Public to the 2002 Telecoms Framework law and the 2020 Telecoms and ICT Framework law (that is yet to enter into full force).
The workshop also interrogated the National Digital Plan that was adopted in 2019 against the positive and negative provisions of the draft Digital Code, which will soon be presented before parliament by the newly created Digital Affairs Ministry. Further, the draft law on Access to Information which was initiative by civil society in 2009 and remains pending before parliament.
Participants also benefited from skills and knowledge building exercises in digital security.
“It was very important for us to make sure that alongside the ICT policy making processes, the Members of Parliament also understand how to keep their private communications and devices safe from digital threat,” said Blaise Ndola, Rudi International’s ICT Programs Coordinator.
The workshop was hosted in DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa from September 30 to October 1, 2021. It doubled as an in-country hub for the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (2021), which is hosted by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).
As part of its digital rights advocacy efforts, Rudi International seeks to be able to rely on policy makers in conversations and debates.
According to the Executive Director, Arsene Tungali, “If we want to have progressive laws that are internet freedom friendly, we have to make sure policy makers are our allies and have good understanding of the need to balance national interests and citizen’s digital rights as part of policy making.”
CIPESA is among Rudi International’s long-term collaborators including through the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF), which has twice supported the Goma based entity to foster digital rights in DR Congo including through the formation of the country’s first digital rights lawyers’ coalition.